Khmer Cultural Development Institute – Kampot, Cambodia
She envisioned a school where children could come and be safe and learn the traditional ways which have been all but lost during the Khmer Rouge reign. – Stephen Davis
Founded in 1994 during the Cambodian civil war by Catherine Geach, the Khmer Cultural Development Institute – Kampot Traditional Music School, is a Cambodian non-governmental organisation, devoted to the revival and preservation of traditional Cambodian fine arts and culture, so terribly damaged by the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975-79), where it is estimated up to 90% of artists were killed. This specialist school also focuses on the care
of very vulnerable and disadvantaged children from poor and isolated rural areas in Kampot, Southwestern Cambodia.
These include the care of orphaned and disabled children, who live permanently at the school from primary school to university entrance level and who receive traditional Cambodian arts training, (Pin Peat, Mohori and Plein Ka music, Classical and Folk dance and Yike theatre), scholastic education, 24 hour counselling, food, clothing, medical care and material assistance: The Mohori music program for 10 blind children as a form of vocational training and therapy: The Traditional Music Scholarship Program for 20 highly talented and vulnerable children from rural areas and the Free Arts Training Program for over 400 local primary school children.
All the staff at the school are Cambodian and the teaching staff come from the Royal University of Fine Arts, the National Theatre and the Royal Ballet. The arts programs are done in coordination and with permission from the Ministry of Culture whilst other programs, including scholastic tuition and the care of children are done in coordination with the Ministries of Education and Social Affairs as well as their local departments in Kampot. The Board of Directors is purely voluntary and there are no expatriate overheads or salaries.
In 1995, the Khmer Cultural Development Institute won the UNESCO World Decade for Cultural Development and in 1999 the Raol Wallenberg Humanitarian Award (Greater New York Committee)”